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May 26 2013
Exercise or lack of it...
I am in a bit of a muddle these days. I have been painting an awful lot, which means sitting and barely breathing for hours on end. I used to get up in the morning and go for a short run/walk, but darker mornings and cold weather were my excuse to stop. Then my husband semi-retired at the end of last year, so routines are not what they used to be. We could go for a lovely brisk morning walk, but that would mean an hour and a half and my window of an early morning painting start is gone. Excuses excuses!…I am so very good at them!

My perfect routine is to get out there, get the heart rate up for 20 mins, come home and do yoga stretches, shower and then paint. Heads clear, body feels good and I am ready to roll. I did that this morning and I feel great.

Of course along with lack of exercise comes weight gain. My scale says I am within normal, but my clothing tells me another story. I told myself this morning that unless I am going to burn off the carbs, there will be no more yummy snax. Guess that's as good a reason as any to get out there! Just do it! I say.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 09:15 0 Comments


May 23 2013
Making Movies
I have been having a little fun lately making videos on my windows movie maker. There was a steep learning curve to start but I think it is sinking in. I need to keep on it though, so I don't forget everything. I just worked on the "Slug Movie" last nite, is about slugs. Only just over a minute long. I made it for my granddaughter. My favorite part is setting the music in. This one was particular difficult, how to you match music with slugs?! I think I managed a good match. is a great site to download royalty free music. You can view it here:

Off to the studio today to start something new!

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 08:25 0 Comments


May 22 2013
On track
I recently spoke to a woman who was just learning to paint. She was going to be showing her work in a small local gallery and had said she needed to have about 20 paintings ready. I smiled and said "you had better get painting!" and she replied "They are almost all done".

Years ago as a beginner, if I were to paint a group that large for a show, I would have been working at it for a very long time. Maybe I was too critical of myself, but by the time I would have worked my way to the 20th, I would have looked back at the first few and have had to replace or rework them.

I have spent the last 25 years on my- self taught journey hip-hopping around trying new mediums and styles, what fun! I have followed my instincts and have done exactly what I have wanted to do….well…most of the time. The times I didn't do what I wanted to do were learning opportunities and I would not change them either.

I have finally arrived at a point in my journey as an artist, where I am able to look at my work and say "yes, that is what I have been trying to say".(for right now anyways) My goal for this year is to work on a cohesive group of work and I am on track.

3 paintings in the last stages….stay tuned!

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 09:30 0 Comments


May 21 2013
Yesterday I spent the whole day working on sketches and studies. I really enjoyed myself. The sea lions at Fanny Bay dock were my first stop. I am presently working on a large acryic with a sea lion "front-center" and needed a little more information. They can be difficult to render because they lack the many shapes or lines within to "map" your way through. They are a big shape in themselves, a big sausage shape! I am managing very well though, playing up the blues in the wet fur and yellow ochre in the dry patches. The longer they lay on the floats, the more ochre they become. I had to smile a few times when they all stopped 'talking". Silence and lots of snoring and heavy breathing. So funny!
It is a busy place for tourists and boaters. I will go back there again on a warmer day.

I then drove to the Buckley Bay Petrocan and ordered a delicious and hot latte from the little shop below the store and headed up to the rest stop. I have painted in that location before and the view is quite beautiful with lots of dark tree tops framing the bay and Denman Island.

Next stop, Union Bay. I stayed in the car at this point and listened to CBC radio while I painted on my steering wheel mounted easel. It was getting colder out and I was all snug in the vehicle.

On my way home I pulled over into the "Mystery Beach" rest stop (between Union and Buckley has a bathroom...) and sat on the beach and prepared to do up an 8x10 watercolor. I had been working on little paper all day and was finally ready to paint something larger. The layers of land to the south gradated in color just perfectly.....but it began raining and my painting ended up covered in splashes. I hopefully will be able to re visit it again and fix the splotches.

By now it was the home stretch and I only needed one more sketch to complete my goal of 10 for the day, I set goals to give myself a push. My lazy self was busy telling me it didn't matter, I could go home with only 9 who really cares anyways! Bu t I stopped in Deep Bay, finished the day with a Chrome Island scene and felt much better about myself for it.

I was feeling a little stir crazy when I got home and realized that I needed some exercise,(sitting sedentary for too many hours) so I grabbed the dog and went for a little walk/jog before I unpacked. Much better!

You can find my sketches and studies on my public facebook page Cindy Mawle Westcoast Contemporary Artist.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 10:53 0 Comments


May 20 2013
Scavenger hunt of sorts
Today I challenged myself to get out there and do TEN. Ten anythings. Ink sketches, watercolors, medium, teeny weeny...whatever. Find ten things to record. Lately I have been in a kind of a "slump". Has nothing to do with my quality of work, which is actually improving with each painting, but just with how I feel. So, I am going to kick my butt out the door and make myself do something. Part of me is thinking "Whaa whaa whaa....10 is too many...I just want to stay in the basement and stare at my easel"...but for some reason I know I need to get out. I have learned to listen to my inner voice. It leads me to wonderful places and is always right. So, no more complaining, my backpack is packed and I am ready to roll! One of my stops is going to be the sea lions at the Fanny Bay dock. I am hoping they are still there.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 08:48 1 Comments


May 19 2013
I love robins. I love the song of robins in the spring; almost like laughter to me. I once had a 15 minute conversation with a robin some years ago. Really! I am not sure what it was about but it was amazing none the less. I was sitting on my back deck in Didsbury Alberta, and a robin landed in the mountain ash tree right close by. He came up with a short series of notes, and I copied them, then he did the same series but added a new note at the end, and I would copy him again. He would pause after each time I copied, turn his head sideways and look at me and then carry on. Have you ever played the electronic game "Simon"? Well it was like that. His chorus got longer and longer each time and I managed to keep up. Then he flew away leaving me in awe.

This morning I enticed a robin into my garden by turning some soil over to get rid of the new small weeds coming up. I sat quiet with my camera a little ways away and just waited. It didn't take him long. Hmmm...maybe a series in the making? Stay tuned!

All Nestled In "All Nested In" 12"x12" Acrylic on Linen Information is in the Westcoast Studio section of Artworks.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 12:47 0 Comments


May 18 2013
I parked my car on the side of the familiar road and looked towards the little brown house. My memory held fast to an oyster shell and gravel driveway, a driveway I skipped, walked, ran and galloped horses up and down in my childhood. All that remains now is a metal gate standing alone at the bottom of a grass covered area. I stood at my car and watched my friend standing at the bottom of the driveway curious to know about the house I grew up in, but I stayed at the car, the sight of the unkempt yard perforating my fond memories.
Is it best to drive by and have a new subdivision in the place of your childhood home? leaving you only your select recollections and a few photographs? I do not know, it may be easier than this.
The little brown shingled "less than elegant" house once enveloped the joy and sadness of my childhood. Oh! the parties my parents held, the laughter, friendships, music and alcohol that was involved. My sleepovers with friends,giggles, popcorn, prank phonecalls and records listened to. Holiday family dinners with grandparents, uncles and aunts. The many birthday parties of my own and my little sister's. Ahh, then there was the coming home from visiting mom in the hospital, the emptiness, tears, the confusion and the eventual loss....A mixture of memories....
On this day my friend and I walked along the trail at the bottom of the property and found a smaller trail to the orchard. There stood the once mighty yellow plum tree. The strong branch which held my friends and I as children, now amputated. The familiar twist of the trunk still evident. I sat in this tree in happiness and sadness back then. It was a place to go eat plums, throw plums, and cry when life was difficult. "Hello my old friend" I quietly said. A strange sadness came over me. I was quiet for awhile, lost while processing this new information. I borrowed a pen from my friend and scrawled "Cindy was here" on a tree on the trail. I am not sure just felt like the right thing to do......

Interesting thing is when I loaded this picture onto my website just for this blog, the title of the previous painting in its slot was "Weight of the World"....I think I will leave it at that.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:28 0 Comments


May 17 2013
Woke up this morning feeling blue. I do that sometimes. No particular reason, just blue. Made my coffee in my blue cup, put on my blue housecoat and went out onto the back porch and curled up on the brown porch swing. I cheered up a little after being dive bombed by a hummingbird. I am sure I surprised her as much as she did me. The weather is overcast, kind of boring. Went for a walk got rained on a little....Its just one of those days. I think I need some vitamin D.
Not particularly interested in going into the darkness of the basement to paint, but I had better get some work done.

It could be worse, I could be one of those people trying to get to the gulf islands in the next day or so. They say the ferries are booked solid for the next couple of days. Long weekends are a good time to stay home!

I sold the painting, "Fall Forest Path" out of the Ginger 9 studio in Courtenay. Marilyn phoned me with the good news yesterday. Right! I am feeling better already! Thankyou to the purchaser if you are reading this! If you email me, I will let you know where the inspiration for the painting came from. Fall Forest Path

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 09:52 0 Comments


May 15 2013
The ugly stage
Before I start this blog I have to say I have gremlins in my laptop right now. They are messing with my mouse pad, making the cursor go the opposite direction of where I want it to go, and they didn't save the entry I spent 10 minutes on. I am on to them. This time I will be more careful!
I was blogging about the painting I am working on right now and how it is in its "Ugly Stage". That is the stage when all the values are around the same and the design has no "oomph". That is why I am blogging. I am avoiding it. I DO know how to work my way through it and know that the build up in this stage is well worth the effort. I just have to make sure my left brain does not allow me to think it is a lost cause, so when I start feeling like I dont know how to paint, I blog!

I took a workshop with a well established and amazing artist a few years back. As I watched him compose his painting, I realized that he also had an "ugly stage" and it made me feel so much better. Now I don't sweat it. I know that eventually the right brushstrokes here and there will bring back the magic.

I also finally figured out how to keep my paints wet! (its an ongoing thing with me) I blogged once before about those wonderful little plastic cups from Walmart. I now place them in one of those Artisan Lettuce containers. I place the paint filled cups in the bottom, then put a piece of cellophane or plastic on top, then pile up another layer on top of that. Another piece of plastic on top of that and snap it down. When I am done painting for the day, I spray it, then slip it into a produce bag, nice and tight. I have 16 little cups of color in there and some of them have been wet for 3 weeks now. This is the best system yet!

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 06:59 0 Comments


May 14 2013
Close Call!
I am putting the finishing touches on the triptych commission featured in my you tube video. It is really nerve wracking at this point as I have a fear of possibly dropping the painting and damaging it or doing something really stupid to it. Well? lets just say I didn't drop it.
I was putting the second coat of varnish on one of the sections and I noticed that I had some pthalo turquoise on my finger. Then I noticed some on my smock and even more on the rag I was using...then OMG! There was some on the painting! Somehow the rag had been sitting in the pool of paint on my palette. Now for those of you who don't know, pthalo turquoise is a very strong tint. The studio leprechauns were good to me this time though. The paint was only smeared onto the outside edge and was an easy remove. I will not relax now until the painting is packed up and out of my hands.

I am working on a large painting of harlequin ducks. So far so good! I am looking forward to getting up early tomorrow morning and tagging the day as a "painting day".

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:48 0 Comments


May 12 2013
Beautiful weather!
I just spent three wonderful days down island in the Sooke area with a good artist friend. I took her around to some of my favorite places to paint en plein aire. The weather was perfect.

At one point I was sitting on the beach at Aylard's Farm in East Sooke Park. I had my new gouache (opaque watercolor) paints beside me and the soft rhythm of the waves were lulling me into a meditative "totally in touch with the now" mind space. couldn't be better. I packed up my paints slowly and methodically walked back to where the rest of my supplies sat in the shade. I was thoughtfully looking down at the sand as it massaged the bottoms of my bare feet when... "WHACK!!!" I was jolted back into the real world. "WHAT THE???!!!" I stepped back and was face to face with a broken off branch of a long since expired arbutus which was the same level as my head. Of course I looked around to see if anyone saw...the beach was I laughed out loud to myself and continued on chuckling at my clumsiness. I have a pretty good cut on my head but I find it all rather funny! I was lucky I was moving slowly.

I have put a 10 minute video on Youtube you may be interested in. It starts out slow but speeds up a ways through. Much like the process of painting. or search cindy mawle on youtube

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:26 0 Comments


May 08 2013
Brain Trickery
The other day while posting up photo images from my trip to Quatsino on my facebook page, I found myself feeling a little woozy and the room felt like it was actually rocking. The images were mostly taken on the boat. Interesting. At the same time I was also thinking that it was clouding over outside, only to look up numerous times to find out it was bright and sunny. Most of my images were taken on cloud covered days. Interesting.....

The same thing happens while working on a painting, and this can go either way. I think I have this most awesome thing happening on the canvas...then I go for a coffee. When I come back I find it has changed into a horrible mess....nothing like what I thought. "WHAT????" Then the opposite can happen at times. A painting I am so frustrated with and cannot resolve gets banished to the junk pile. I pull it out months later to find out it was actually a great piece that only needed a brushstroke here and there to complete its awesomeness!(slight exaggeration, but you get the drift).

So how to harness the true perspective on something? Meditation? Perhaps. I should do more of that.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:17 0 Comments


May 07 2013
Entries in my sketchbook...
The house was more "rustic" than I had imagined...even though I was told it was. So I poured a myself a Glenfiddich and headed for the beach. The drink went straight to my head but the beauty went straight to my heart. The house was only but a warm shelter, the surrounding subject.

By day 2:
Your perspective changes when in a place like this. I can feel a "switch" turn on (or off?) in my brain. A meal becomes an enjoyable ritual, not the annoyance it gets to be at home. Things are simpler. Water from buckets drawn from the creek, boil before drinking just in case. An old propane stove-a luxury. Cast iron fry pans, teflon has no place here. Hot water is drawn from the large ever present pot on the air tight stove. A warm facecloth in the evening never felt so good.

Deer become an integral part of the land. If the deer are in the field, the wolves and bears are not lurking. They bring a sense of peace and comfort, rather than the IRE that comes from one protecting a manicured and well stocked flower or vegetable bed....

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:31 0 Comments


May 06 2013
May 1st entry in my sketchbook....

Sitting here @ the table. Guys are out fishing, its 6:30 am. Each window boasts a different view of the serene surroundings but it is not silent here now. The moaning, banging, crashing and whining of high powered saws echo all around, ripping through the natural beauty around me, making it difficult to connect. The natural flow is broken but will begin to heal come quitting time only to be broken once again when time clock is punched in the morning. I absolutely understand the need for it to be this way, but my understanding is filled with sadness.... I heard a loon call in the early silence, I do not expect to hear another today. ( They are clearing and logging close by).

After I wrote this I headed to the beach to paint. As I stood paintbrush in hand, working on my little study, listening to the birds carry on despite the noise, I put it all into perspective. I made a promise to myself to be aware of my possessions and where they came from. My studio for example, which I so badly want, will be built out of wood. How many hands does my wood pass through before it lands on my doorstep, how many meals did it pay for, mortgages, children's clothing. I have no right to be sad. Just aware. My father drove logging truck when I was a child, it was his livelihood. Logging practices have improved since then.

The patchwork patterns on logged hillsides show the different stages of re-forestation, making for interesting design elements and easing my mind.

Oh, and the noise? I hardly noticed it by the 3rd day. Like the birds I just tuned it out I guess.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 07:43 0 Comments


May 05 2013
5 days of absolute beauty
We live in the most amazing part of the world. I just spent 5 days in Quatsino Sound on North Vancouver Island. I have never driven up past Campbell River, so it was quite an adventure. I have noted several places along the highway I want to go visit this year with an artist friend. Beautiful!

2 days were spent getting to the location,(we had to boat in) and 3 days mostly alone to wander the homestead property to paint, photograph and absorb the beauty surrounding me.(the guys took off early every morning to fish for the day) I managed to pull off 4 small acrylics and 3 pen and ink. I wrote in my sketchbook as well, and that I will share in the next couple of blog entries. Just observations about myself and how I adjusted to my "rustic" living quarters and surroundings. I always said I would love to live somewhere isolated. But maybe now I am re-thinking that statement. Not quite that isolated...But I did have service on my blackberry and managed to email and txt. Made me feel a little better.

Posted by Cindy Mawle at 08:16 0 Comments


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